Christmas is over… so now what?

Living Room Xmas decor

The high point of the holiday season has come and gone, leaving the echoes of merriment and festivity in its wake. We’re all a bit heavier in the belly and lighter in the wallet as a result. But—as we all no doubt rationalize—it’s all part of the Christmas season.

As we prepare for the New Year, what happens to the bonds that have been re-kindled, made and established with new friends and old, family members and loved ones alike? Will you maintain this attitude of generosity and appreciation, charity and love, smiling, happiness and joy?

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A perfect time to overdo it…

Ring the bells, beat the drums! Open your throats and shout to the heavens, OUR KING IS HERE! The child of the prophecy, the divine infant, our Lord and savior has come to earth! Drink deep in celebration, feast and toast the victory of the Son of Man. Sing! Roar with joy! Rejoice!

I’ve experienced observances of this day that range from terse and austere to opulent revels, and the former has never driven my heart toward glorifying the Lord like the latter. Christ is born! This exhortation comes from one who used to firmly been in the opposite camp. No, I’m not speaking of my years as an atheist (that’s a tale for another time), but I did once abstain from an observance of the day. Though my reasoning (I still believe) was sound, I was missing the point.

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Advent IV “I wonder as I wander”

Some people are adrenaline junkies, some people are sports or antique junkies… me? I’m a wonder junkie, I seek out ways to feel a sense of wonder. There is hardly a better time of year for someone like me than Christmas time.

Christmas is a season of wonder, built upon astonishment and bathed in the warm glow of contentment Grudges are often set aside during Yuletide and people who have been harried and buried by the tangle of day-to-day affairs take great pains to ensure that “quality time” is abundant.

In journeying through the weeks of Advent, we have been prepared to receive readily and gratefully the great event of the coming of the Savior, to contemplate in wonder His entrance in the world.

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Advent III Esteeming one day over another

Do you celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday? Cool… me too. Do you know anyone who doesn’t? Sure. But how does one reconcile divisions over celebrating some days as “holy” and not others?

I received a well-intentioned—though somewhat overwrought—letter on this topic earlier this week. The author seemed in earnest that I “repent of the sin” of “blessing” the “pagan festival” of Christmas with orthodox Christian doctrine. Appealing to select Scripture excerpts, this individual wrote I was guilty of “worshiping the created” rather than the creator.

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OHS alumni team sends out the call

If you’re a former Overton Mustang football player, your alumni team needs you.

Overton High School graduates from as far back as 1990 (Kurt Kitchings and Steven Sikes) to as recent as 2013 (Greg Moore) have pledged to play. The game is set tentatively for February/March of 2014, possibly against the Arp Tiger alums — a once passionate rivalry that’s cooled in recent years.

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Advent II Getting it right for “Xmas”

It all started when two different readers took me to task over two different sides of an issue. One was a kindly, elderly woman concerned over my newspaper’s recent usage of the abbreviation “Xmas” for Christmas. The other a rather pugnacious young man, challenging me to “concede the pagan origins” of the holiday itself.

There are few things I hate more than misconceptions—whether it’s a distortion of things I care about or not, I want to get it right. I suppose it’s a trait that serves me well in this line of work. Still, trying to get it right all the time is hard. It’s time-consuming and often requires tedious work. Sometimes it even means finding out I was wrong about something—maybe bad wrong—and maybe bad wrong for a long time. But, ultimately it’s for the best.

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Advent I “…all a lot of oysters, and no pearls…”

Have you ever given a Christmas present to a small child? It’s hilarious. After much prodding and cajoling by the earnest parents, the youngster eventually starts tearing into the brightly-colored paper. At first hesitant, like, “How come these people actually want me to make a mess?” Eventually they succumb to the revery and tear the package asunder. But the part that always kills me is when the kid tosses the toy aside and proceeds to play with the box or the wrapping paper.

I think about this as we get closer and closer to Christmas. The first Sunday of Advent marks the “official” beginning of the Christmas season, despite the fact that the pagan gods of retail started observing Yuletide long before Halloween had even arrived. Sometimes I wonder if we, like foolish children, prefer to entertain ourselves with the wrapping paper rather than the gift itself.

For me, the holiday season always prompts a sort of existential melancholy, as I find it too often to be a lot of oysters and no pearls.

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